The Culinaria Research Centre is a multidisciplinary initiative that blends research excellence with community engagement and student research experience. Culinaria’s projects will provide new insights into some of the major questions of the field of food studies: the place of food in cultural identity and expression; the relationship between food, diaspora, and inter-ethnic/inter-cultural contact in Canada and beyond; commodity production and labour, from slavery to the age of empire to the present-day; and the links between food systems, health, gender, and family.
The local community is Culinaria’s audience and its laboratory. Surrounding streets, shops, and strip malls offer unique opportunities to develop new understandings of food and its significance for diasporic identities, immigrant entrepreneurship, and cultural contact. Culinaria will combine different methodologies – field work, archival work, oral history, GIS mapping, digital humanities – to trace the foodways of the vibrant multi-ethnic neighbourhoods of the eastern GTA.